Cleveland Indians 2016 Top 30 Prospects Review – No. 30 to 25

Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /
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Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

#26 Ronny Rodriguez, UTL

The first Rodriguez on the list, Ronny, came in at number 26 this past March. A shortstop by trade, Rodriguez has developed into a super-utility player, appearing at six different positions in 2016: second base (85 games), first base (17), right field (9), centerfield (4), third base (4), and shortstop (1). He spent the entire 2016 with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers where he hit .258/293/.400 in just under 500 plate appearances. He hit 10 home runs, 24 doubles, and five triples in his first taste of Triple-A.

Future Outlook: Coming off an impressive, though injury-shortened, 2015 season the hopes were somewhat high for Ronny this year. He hit .286/.316/.491 in 72 games for Akron in 2015, slugging 11 home runs in half the plate appearances he had in 2016. The 24-year-old still has value as a depth piece due to the number of positions he plays but has yet to show any real plate discipline, walking just 4.5-percent of the time in 2016, which sadly was second best of his professional career. There’s a small chance the Indians could add him to the 40-man this winter but the one time top ten prospect in the system has seen his stock take a bit of a hit.

#25 Luis Lugo, LHP

A 6’-5” lefthander, Lugo came in at number 25 on our preseason list. He spent all of 2016 with the Advanced-A Lynchburg Hillcats. He was repeating the level as he spent all of 2015 there as well and it was an up and down year for the big lefty. He set a career high with 26 starts and 136 innings and even posted his lowest ERA in the last three years (4.04). However, his strikeout numbers fell for the second straight year, dropping below 20-percent. He did improve his walk rate ever so slightly over 2015 but still walked over nine-percent. He also threw 12 wild pitches this year (a career high).

Future Outlook: Due to his size and the fact he’s still only 22 years old, there’s still something to dream on with Lugo. He’s proven to be very durable, throwing at least 125 innings each of the past three seasons as well. The Indians may have to push him to Double-A next year and see if he can take the next step. Like Rodriguez, he’s a guy that could be a dark horse candidate to be added to the 40-man roster this fall. Despite his durability, the Indians could also look at him as a reliever and see if he can’t regain some of that dominant stuff he showed off in 2014 when he struck out nearly 10.5 per nine innings. He’s definitely not the best left-hander in the system but he still remains one of the most intriguing arms.

Next: Indians 2016 Top 30 Prospects Review: Just Missed Prospects

We’ll continue our 2016 Cleveland Indians top prospect review series tomorrow as we take a look at prospects 24 through 19. Be sure to sound off on your thoughts on our list and which prospects you think are worth looking at this winter.

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